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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  May 16, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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05/16/14 05/16/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! observing the early trends of the results, the congress party in the united progressive alliance respectfully accept defeat. >> after more than half a billion people went to the polls in india's general election, the largest in the world, india's ruling party has faced a crushing defeat. the prime minister will be opposition leader narendra modi, head of bjp, a hindu nationalist party.
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he was chief minister where one of india's worst anti-muslim riots occurred and left at least 1000 people dead. after the bloodshed, the a state department revoked modi's visa. femalebramson, the first executive editor of "the new york times" in its history is ousted. just before her firing, she reportedly had complained about earning less pay than her male predecessor's. we will get reaction from lynn povich, the first female senior editor in "newsweek" history, author of, "the good girls revolt: how the women of newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace." write,ou wanted to you're told to go someplace else, women don't write at "newsweek." we decided we had to do something. this is now a legal and moral issue. by one, we started secretly organizing.
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" that is thes hell response from eric shinseki. any adversens, incident like this makes me mad as hell. >> we will get reaction from veterans affairs reporter aaron glantz and dr. jose mathews who said he was removed from his position as chief of psychiatry at the va hospital in st. louis after reporting unethical workplace conduct. all of that and more coming up will. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the federal communications commission has voted to advance a proposal that critics call a threat to a free and open internet. hundreds of protesters rallied outside the fcc to protest a plan that could allow internet fast lanes are letting companies
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pay providers for faster access to consumers. daysgency will allow 120 of public comment before issuing final rules. the fcc chair tom wheeler spoke before the vote. >> the potential for the potential for there to be some kind of a fast lane available to only a few has many people concern. personally, i don't like the idea the internet can be divided into haves and have-nots. i will work to see that that does not happen. in this item, we specifically ask whether and how to prevent the kind of pay per organization that could result in fast lanes. >> in a statement, the group free press said -- thursday's hearing was repeatedly disrupted by protesters, including caiman kai
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of code pink, who called for the fcc to classify internet providers as common carriers to barbara and them from providing unequal access. >> i speak on behalf of the internet generation. >> we are trying to move ahead. >> a common carrier -- >> we are trying to move ahead. >> [indiscernible] early results in india show nationalist opposition leader narendra modi is set to become the new prime minister. the priebus lasered grizzlies served in. steelworkers have reportedly taken control of the eastern ukrainian city from pro-russian forces. the workers launched citizen patrols in multiple cities this
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week after they were urged to take action by their boss, ukraine's richest man. the united nations has warned of an alarming deterioration in human rights in the region. western backed talks on the crisis opened in kiev this week, but pro-russian separatists were excluded. israeli forces have shot dead two palestinians during a protest in the occupied west bank. health officials said the victims were 17 and 22 years old. palestinians held protests across the occupied territories thursday to mark the 66th anniversary of the not by, or catastrophe. hundreds of thousands of palestinians were displaced during the time around israel's declaration of statehood. thousands of people have taken to the streets across brazil to protest the billions of -- the bit on the world cup which begins next month. thousands of families have occupied an area near the site of the opening match. outside the stadium thursday, protesters called for more
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spending on housing, health,h, d education. shameful, not the stadium itself, but the fact so -- has been spent. we don't have a basic dr. surgery or hospital. why is that? because they chose not to spend the money on health or education, but this is only worsened our housing problems. brazilian security forces gathered in rio for a special training with the fbi on controlling unrest. the training took place in partnership with the los angeles and chicago police departments. in honduras, military police have forcibly evacuated members of congress including ousted president manuel zelaya. he and other lawmakers have reportedly been occupying congress to protest their exclusion from key debates when police moved to oust them to stay. the previous night, a member of re party was shot and
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injured in an attack. in san diego, california, thousands more have been warned to evacuate the midst raging wildfires. a total of 10 fires have burned or than 15 square miles, and at least one burned body has been discovered. the united states has released 10 pakistani prisoners who were held at bagram prison in afghanistan for years without trial. one of the prisoners, yunus rahmatullah, spent 10 years at bagram without charge or trial after being captured by british forces in iraq will stop the legal charity reprieve has called for a full investigation into yunus rahmatullah's capture, noting he is "said to be in a grave mental, and physical condition as a result of sustained abuse in u.k. and subsequently u.s. custody." prisoners on hunger strike at guantanamo bay prison are asking a u.s. court to bar authorities from destroying video footage of
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their force feedings. the existence of the footage came to light as part of a lawsuit. an estimated 17 prisoners are currently on hunger strike at guantanamo. the pentagon has appealed a ruling ordering the release of tightly held secrets about cia prisons overseas. last month, a military judge ordered the release of details about the treatment guantanamo and uss cole bombing suspect abd al-nashiri. but military prosecutors have asked the judge to wait at least until the release of the senate report on cia torture. on thursday, the justice department asked for more time for the cia to review the senate torture report before approving its release saying "will likely be completed this summer, although an exact time cannot be determined." thousands of fast food workers went on strike on thursday in at least 150 cities across the country, marking the largest
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action of its kind to date. in more than 30 other countries, workers rallied in the d with the call for $15 an hour minimum wage and the right to organize. i am receiving eight dollars an hour and i'm here with other coworkers and other friends i work with, associates that i work with. we are standing as one to get $15 in a union. i'm not able to meet my new needs. it is hard to make it back and forth to work. we're not getting equal pay. the ceos of corporations are getting so much money. we should be able to have that fair share in wage. trucks and media outlets have filed a lawsuit of missouri challenging the growing secrecy around sources of death penalty drugs. the suit filed by the guardian, associated press, and three
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missouri papers argues the public has a right to know the type, and source of lethal injection drugs. at least 13 states have changed the rules to withhold all information from the public about how they obtain the drugs. general motors has recalled another 2.7 million vehicles, many of them with a defect that can cause brake lights to fail. gm knew about the brake light issue in 2008, when it issued a notice requiring car dealers to address the issue only if the owner complained. the move brings the total number of gm vehicles recalled worldwide this year to 12.8 million. japan is offering to cut protections for domestic meat products as part of ongoing negotiations with the united states over the transpacific partnership, or tpp. the secretive trade deal involves 12 countries and 40% of the global economy. trade ministers plan to discuss the pact in singapore next week. on wednesday, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren criticized the secretive nature
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of trade talks during a speech at public citizen scale in washington, d.c. >> from what i hear, wall street pharmaceuticals, telecoms, and outsourcers are all celebrating at the chance to rig the deal in the upcoming trade talks. so the question is, why are the trade talks secret? you will love this answer. [indiscernible] i actually have had supporters of the deal say to me they have to be secret because if the american people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed. [laughter] >> and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. congratulations, grandpa, the graduation of your granddaughter. >> i granddaughter diana graduated from to the university
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and communications, of all things. >> we have another gonzalez journalist coming up through the ranks. >> after more than half a billion people went to the polls in india's five-week long general election, the results are in. the country's longtime ruling party has faced a crushing defeat following outrage over a string of corruption scandals and a sagging economy. this is the leader of the indian national congress party. observing dearly trans, the commerce party and the united progressive alliance respectfully accept defeat. >> early election results show the opposition leader narendra modi has won a landslide retrieve and set to become the country's new prime minister. he is the leader of the bjp, hindu nationalist party. note he served as the chief minister of gujarat, where one of india's worst anti-muslim riots occurred in 2002 that left at least 1000 people dead.
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after the bloodshed, the the state department revoked his visa, saying it would not grant a visa to any foreign government official who was "responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, to really severe violations of religious freedom." modi has never apologized or explained his actions at the time of the riots. >> his main challenger was rahul gandhi, who is heir to the nehru-gandhi dynasty. several smaller regional parties were also in the running. for more and the significance of the election, the largest in the world, we're joined by siddhartha deb, indian author and journalist. his nonfiction book is, "the beautiful and the damned: a portrait of the new india." it was a finalist for the orwell prize and the winner of the pen open award. he teaches here in new york. welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of what will now be prime minister modi. who is he? >> thank you for inviting me
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here. one of the things that is being said is that this is the largest collection, the largest -- election, largest democracy voting, choosing a man to power. that has been true for a while. india has been the largest democracy for a long time. , ones also been diverse could argue, for centuries. this is not new. what is significant is that narendra modi, hard-line leader and the hard right hindu-right party, is the person who has been elected by a majority of indians to be their leader. not without significant backing from corporate influence in india. so he is not just a man who has been chosen by the masses, but a man who was anointed by the corporations, by the elite in india will before the election
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results came in. this is the result that the corporations in india wanted. mr.the reason for that is, modi, one of the things being --ked about is that he led it was a prodevelopment politicians. it basically means pro-business. manhis is one aspect of the who is been chosen to lead the nation. and aa significant break certain troubled, but nevertheless, at some levels, sustained indian tradition of diversity. this marks a significant come a deliberate break a section of the indians from their past. it's what about the whole issue of the congress party being this party that essentially ruled the leveldecades and
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of corruption and dissatisfaction of the population with the governing party? >> it is worth remembering that the congress party and the prime minister of the congress party was the finance minister who was very much in charge of the so-called reforms that took place in india. reform is another word for policy. deliberately anti-poor. the corporations were fine with the congress for a while. until 2004.in power in the economic realm, i think many other areas, there is a substantial difference between the bjp and congress. -- there is no substantial difference between the bjp and congress. it represents a significant number of people. they have done well in the last 20 years of growth and consumerism. but the bjp was voted out of power in 2004 and congress came to power. what has happened is that the growth that we were talking about in the indian media, but
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also the western media, is very, very deliberate on this. it peaked in some time in 2010. i think it has come down from a very significant high of 10% to something like 4.3%. there's a lot of agitation and anger out there. >> let's talk about how the bjp's narendra modi is perceived in india. we recently spoke to award-winning author and journalist arundhati roy while she was in new york. this is some of what she had to say. >> who is narendra modi? he is changing his idea of who he is. because he started out as a kind of activist in the self proclaimed fascist organization, in rss, which was founded
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1925. the heroes were muscling he and hitler. -- were mussolini and hitler. they said the muslims of india are like the jews of germany. they have a clear idea of india as a hindu nation. the hindu version of pakistan. >> that was arundhati roy, who is in our studios recently, the great writer who wrote "the god of small things." siddhartha deb, talk about modi 's history, of the massacre that took place in gujarat and the parties he has been part of. >> the bjp is the political wing of the paramilitary organization goes up torss, which
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the 1920's at a time of great turmoil, taking some sense of inspiration from both mussolini's fascist and the nazis. the rss is a very military organization. the bjp is the political unit of that. narendra modi has risen through the ranks and that is his claim to being a self-made man. he started in the rss. preacher and volunteer. it is from the lower ranks he is risen up to become this face of business in india. so when mr. modi was chief and gujarat, there were tremendous rights and ghastly riots that took place -- riots and ghastly riots that took place. women were raped, babies related, people murdered.
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directly not link modi to this, but he was the chief mr.. he hasn't really expressed any apology. journalist asked him, he said it is the same as when a car runs over a puppy. he is keeping a distance from this. >> did it happen over days? he was the chief minister. could he have call the suppression of the massacre were of those carrying out the massacre, were they his own people? >> again, some of the people who work boasting about it, some of the murderers who boasted about it, did say they were members of the rss. it is claimed -- the recent claims are was violence on both sides and the hindus died as well. the narrative has constantly been adjusted in a certain way.
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is much more problematic in other ways. this spoken about as being a very successful state in terms of development. what a bit of the work that shows gujarat was doing well in terms of those educators before mr. modi came into power. it has been a more will to the state within india. -- it has been a more well-to-do state within india. there's a great deal of suspicion about surveillance. there was a case where a minister mr. modi was suspected of ordering surveillance on a young woman. there's a lot of distress withint. this is beyond gujarat. for instance, a few days ago in the northeast of india, which is where i come from, there were cases of violence and about 50 people died in the violence. the rss, which is the radical and larger part of the bjp,
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constantly stokes up anti-muslim paranoia. they refer to this india as being -- becoming islamist pakistan. they are very, very hard line about referring to these people as outsiders. >> i want to ask you about some of the splinter parties that have always existed. india has had a tradition in regional areas, strong communist movements and left-wing movements. what has been the fate of those parties in this election and the prospects for growth among more people-oriented lyrical parties? >> not something traditionally left, but the party became evident anticorruption movement which was both conservative and some of its aspects, libertarian and some of its aspects and also radical, led by former civil server who served as the chief
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in delhi for short time. i don't think have done well with waiting for the details to come in. there is a great deal -- indian democracy is not just a one in five year thing. it happens every day. in everyday level. there are a large number of people on the ground who are actually nonsectarian, who are not communal, to use the indian phrase, but actually believe in a sustainable, more equitable society. there are large protests. i think you'll see that happening. >> the significance of modi's be sitting revoked by the u.s. and what it will mean now that he is prime minister? >> the united states has come around to accepting mr. modi as the prime minister of india well before the election results came in. the address by -- the statement by the white house on the
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significant occasion, i think clearly shows business interest in the united states and particularly in the u.k., which is ahead of the curve. i think david cameron tweeted this morning about modi becoming a leader. i think those in the west have already accepted he will be the leader of india. want to ask about the issue of climate change and how it figured in these elections. democracy now! cover the u.n., summit in or sell, poland last november and this is what indian had to say.minister >> we have already seen a huge gap the between what developed countries have pledged and what is required by science and their historical responsibility. the irony is, developing countries have pledged much more than developed countries in the pre-2020 period. in keeping with article 3.1,
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developed countries should take the lead in bridging the ambition cap. equity is the root to higher ambition. therefore i call on developed countries to fill the gap now. feel the cap this year. quit your response to how climate change factored into these elections? >> i think that a very in a schedule -- it hardly figured, i believe mr. modi talked about cleaning up again just because it is a sacred river to the hindus. i don't know what he plans to do about the other rivers. by and large, i have to say i have some sympathy with the ministers critique of the developed nations. there is no doubt there is a big and united europe states in terms of climate change, what their responsibilities are.
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but i don't think as indians we have no responsibility just because we weren't in the party earlier. and what you will see is the level of everyday people in this town, the villages, people are very concerned because it directly affects their lives. when i spoke to my mother about the elections, and my mother is quite religious, unlike me, and she talked about krishna, the hindu god. she moved for that to say, how can i go for the bjp because they're so sectarians? sheets said -- i said, what is the most important thing? rising price of food. the agriculture is in crisis. farmers have been killing themselves over the last 20 years. --n the bangladeshi undocumented migrant labor, the people at the rss, are a result
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of the climate change that is happening. the rivers drying up, the dams being put on the. the indian elite cannot see any other way of growth. all they can dream of is parking lots. >> we have to leave it there, siddhartha deb, thank you for being with us. indian author and journalist. his book is, "the beautiful and the damned: a portrait of the new india." it was a finalist for the orwell prize and the winner of the pen open award. he teaches at the new school here in new york. when we come back, the first female executive editor of "the new york times" is ousted. the first female executive editor in the 160-year history of "the new york times." did it have to do with her request for equal compensation for work with her male predecessor's? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we turn now to the "new york times" dismissal of its top editor, the first woman to hold the position in the newspaper's 160-year history. executive director -- executive editor jill abramson was replaced wednesday in a surprise move by publisher arthur sulzberger, just 2.5 years after her pointman. during her tenure, the paper want a pill it surprises. she is been replaced by managing editor dean baquet, who has become the first african-american to take up the post. both abramson and "the times"
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have signed non-disparagement agreements and sulzberger has insisted her firing was due to "an issue with management in the newsroom." denied new york times" the charge saying abramson's total competition package was copper ball to that of earlier executive editors. only after she protester was her salary raised again. she learned her salary as managing editor, 390 $8,000, was less than that of the now managing editor for news operations john gatti. she also learned her salary as washington bureau chief from 2000-2003, was $100,000 less than that of her successor in that position.
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>> the development drew attention to the pay discrimination women are still widely recognized to face. senate majority leader airy reid cited them thursday when he renewed his call to pass the paycheck fairness act, which republicans blocked a vote on for the third time last month. the bill will prohibit retaliation against employees who share their salary information with each other. president, this is an issue that is more than just something that takes place away from crowds. look what happens to appeared in "the new york times." the woman that ran a newspaper was fired yesterday. why? it is now in the press it was because she complained she was doing the same work as men at two different jobs amid a lot less money than they did. that is why we need this legislation. >> to discuss the dismissal of jill abramson and the status of women in the media, we're joined by lynn povich.
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began her career at newsweek as a secretary and in 1975, she became the magazine's first woman senior editor. this came she joined more than 40 other women staffers in suing newsweek for hiring women only as researchers, and really promoting them to reporter or writer. following the case, women working at "the time," "the reader's digest," "the new york nbc and the associate press also sued their employers. she recounts the story in her book, "the good girls revolt: how the women of newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace." in 2013, she received the lifetime achievement award from the washington press club foundation, which was founded in 1919 to ensure that women established in the place in the newsroom. lynn povich, we welcome you to
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democracy now! a fascinating story, your own, but let's first talk about what happened to jill abramson in your assessment of what has taken place. >> first of all, joe was a towering figure and has been for a long time and the journalism business. she is an excellent reporter has done taps wars, a fabulous best to get of reporter. she ran a great washington bureau of "the new york times," and of course, for those of us in the media, her appointment was significant that a woman would be able to be the editor was extraordinary. this is a sad and upsetting and ending to her rain. i think the problems with jill that we have learned is that she has been consistently underpaid and the predispositions that she had as well. it is not clear what the total compensation issue was with jill
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, so we're not exactly sure how that they compare, but i think it shows how upset she was that at least, according to the article, she brought in a lawyer to talk about her salary and her compensation. i think what resonates is that women are consistently underpaid and every single field. we know that well. we know that even at the top when mary barra became ceo of gm, she also was underpaid. quick in terms of her impact in the short time she was executive editor, can you talk about what happened under her regime? >> from the outside, she seemed to have enormous success. she won a pulitzer in the course of her rain. there were some issues were she appointed some people who did not work out. fine. there are certainly talks about her personality. often people say about women, you know, they're judged on a
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personality and men are judged on the outcome. that has also been consistently true when you talk about women, especially in top management. think it is also a question of managing up. some people can be difficult, but they manage up well. others may have more difficult relationships with their bosses. >> i want to go to jill abramson's legacy at "the new york times." this is a clip or she is speaking to cbs news just a few exact her she was appointed executive editor in 2012. >> it would be nice to think we would get to the point where it wasn't so remarkable when a woman rose to the top job at an important institution. but i think we are not there yet. but as of this wednesday, "the new york times" no longer lists her as executive editor, but does list many of the women she appointed in her tenure. in 2013, she made carolyn ryan the urine she.
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she also made pamela paul head of the sunday book review. in addition, abramson created a race and it is city beat at the paper, covered by national a andspondent tanzina veg appointed margaret sullivan as public editor -- the first woman to hold the position at the paper. it's also worth noting "the new york times" opinion page outside the executive editors purview has attended two ratio of male to female columnists. this,is true, and we know when women run something, they tend to appoint other women. and certainly, she did that with into theso many women management position. i just want to say that the appointment of margaret sullivan as the publisher's apartment, not the editors appointment. arthur sulzberger was responsible for her appointment. butjill but many, many women in top positions. she was a role model for the
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women. we know how upset they are to see the way in which she was dismissed. >> can you look back in terms of your struggles with the industry, when women begin to raise these issues in the newsroom with management, the reaction, what happens to those who speak out? >> well, there are those people who have supported women. there are always allies among the men. and it is also true that many men in management feel that women aren't as qualified, or getting ahead because of affirmative action. that creates tension among your colleagues. therefore, women are always scrutinized in their management abilities. you know, how they manage. because so much stigma is attached to being more assertive, being aggressive, being what is called pushy. and women, unfortunately, have
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to learn how to navigate those waters well and men don't. shoulderesting you mention pushy. although there a non-disparagement agreement, i guess jill abramson and "the times" her daughter tweeted out a picture of her mother and it is a picture of joe abramson boxing and entered it says "pushy." in january, she spoke about a panel -- on a panel. she noted there have been many leaks, more than any other administration. >> it seems to be this is not a stated policy, reality where journalism about sensitive national security issues that i see as vitally in the public interest is effectively being criminalized, and a real freeze
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is setting in in what had been, to this point, i think, a healthy discourse between sources and journalists. and i might -- if i could take just a minute, because the gentleman had quite a bit of long time to speak, is to point out that max frankel and a very famous affidavit in the pentagon papers case wrote eloquently about how the public does in a fit from this discourse -- does benefit from this discourse. i have seen both in the job as washington bureau chief of "the times" certainly growing as managing editor and now executive editor, that these criminal leak investigations have had a very profound effect on journalism. >> that was jill abramson speaking in january she was still executive editor at "the new york times."
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abramson reportedly had made a job offer to gibson to be a comanaging editor position at "the new york times" with dean baquet, but janine gibson turned that down. of the battlece in the context of what you've gone through, lynn povich, yours is a fascinating history. what happened at newsweek in the struggle you see with women, briefly, encapsulate that. >> we were not even allowed to be promoted out of the category. so we did have to file a legal complaint with the equal and some opportunity -- >> there were no women reporters? >> i had actually been promoted as a junior writer, the only woman writing at the time. our lawsuit, our legal complaint was about how we were treated and discriminated against as
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women since men with equal credentials coming out of the same kinds of colleges were immediately hired as reporters and writers. eleanor holmes norton. we had to file a second time. our second lawyer was actually hired by "the new york times" women when they file their suit in 1974. we did not ask for money. we should have, but we were just wanting to get out of the category. it is unusual that i as one of the ringleaders of the suit benefited by becoming the first woman senior editor. most women on the frontlines lines of this lawsuit did not benefit. the lead plaintiff of "the new york times" who was on the foreign desk and did of becoming a travel writer. and she said to me, lynn m a we did a brave thing that we knew it would be for the next generation. in august progress has been made for women in journalism. we see them covering wars now when they were not allowed,
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they're covering the president when they were only covering first ladies. we see breakthroughs like jill abramson and the head of nbc news is a woman. we have seen a few cracked ceilings of the top, but certainly, not enough all sto. >> and he surely didn't think two generations later, he would still be dealing with equal pay for equal work. >> that is why in congress, this law has been languishing there and the president has tried to do something as much as he can with executive order. and what happened after your lawsuit at "newsweek"? for about the day lawsuit came out. >> when we heard "newsweek" was going to do a cover story on the women's movement and because there were no experienced women writers at the time at
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"newsweek," they went outside the magazine for the first time in its history and hired a wonderful writer to freelance aps and we thought, aha, we have a new spec for our lawsuit. so the day the cover appeared, we announced the 46 of us were suing for sex discrimination, mainly because we knew the publicity would get these liberal editors of "newsweek," who are against the war in vietnam and for civil rights, to suddenly see, oh, my goodness, and the editor-in-chief osborn elliott said to me later, we knew that monday that this was right, that the women were right. we have been oppressing the fall class right underneath our noses. >> and the women who followed your lead from the women in those papers? >> women at the ap, "new haven register "and "newsday close quote women started organizing
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in either filed complaints or talked to their management. and "the washington post." >> the women today, how where are they of the battles that occurred back then? i interviewed some women in 2010 and they knew nothing about the lawsuit. when they found out about it, they were amazed that 40 years earlier, there had been a group of women dealing with some of the same issues they were dealing with still. >> we want to thank you very much for being with us, lynn povich. began her career at newsweek as secretary became the first senior editor in the magazine's history at "newsweek." she has been editor-in-chief of "working woman" magazine and managing editor/senior executive producer msnbc.com.
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when we come back, a scandal brewing within the veterans administration. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. "mad as hell." that was the response from eric shinseki that dozens of veterans died during a long wait for medical treatment. he testified thursday before a senate committee and answered
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questions about treatment delays and coverups at v.a. medical centers. , any adversetion incident like this makes me mad as hell. i could use stronger language, mr. chairman, but in deference to the committee, i won't. at the same time, it saddens me. i understand that out of those adverse events, a veteran and a veteran's family is still in the aftermath. and now is try to put myself in their shoes. in response to allegations about manipulation of appointments scheduling at phoenix, i'm committed to taking all actions necessary to identify exactly what the issues are. to fix them and to strengthen veterans trust in v.a. health care. >> that would veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki. the committee grilled him about
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recent claims v.a. health clinics in phoenix, arizona and fort collins, colorado used elaborate schemes to hide records of patients who had waited too long for care that meets the department's goals. shinseki vowed to fix any problems documented by an inspector general's investigation for but stopped short of resigning. the nation's largest veterans group has called on him to step down. >> for more we go to st. louis, missouri where we're joined by a whistleblower who says he was removed in his position as chief of psychiatry at the va hospital in st. louis after reporting unethical workplace conduct. matthew said he was demoted to the hospital's basement where he now works on compensation and pension exams. in new york we're goin joined by and inyer ariel solomon san francisco, we're joined by aaron glantz. is author of three books, most recently, "the war
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comes home: washington's battle against america's veterans." he also wrote an article about dr. mathews ordeal. aaron glantz, let's start with you. why shinseki had to testify. >> he had to go before congress because news organizations have reported there were as many as 40 veterans who died waiting for care at the va hospital in phoenix, arizona and that while there were waiting, the v.a. was simultaneously falsifying the official record of how long veterans were waiting and keeping a secret list. they had two list. one represented how long veterans were actually waiting, and that was secret, and the other list represented everything being absolutely fine and honest everyone being seen within two weeks. and that is what was presented
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to washington. in the aftermath of this report, there have been many other whistleblowers who have come forward across the country in chicago, in texas, in arizona. colorado, and of course dr. mathews as well, to talk about similar problems and it reached a boiling point. you mentioned in the intro, the american legion called for secretary shinseki's resignation. these are all problems. the previous chairwoman of the committee mentioned the same problems were revealed in an inspector general's audits in 2005, 2007, 2012. secretary shinseki has been in this chair overseeing this agency the entire time, and yet even now today, we see a scandal on this topic that is bigger than any before it.
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>> this could come to a criminal matter, is that right? >> secretary shinseki was asked by one of the senators if you would bring the fbi in. he would not promise to bring the fbi in, and are frustrated lawmakers that he was referring to only look at it as inspector general internal investigation. there are many believe it should be a criminal investigation. , it can youmathews talk about york springs of the st. louis va hospital when you decided you had to speak out, first within the administration there? >> yes. i took the chief of psychiatry position in november 2012. shortly thereafter, i started looking at how we were delivering care and what we were doing. mostly based on some veterans
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complaints about being turned away from the clinic because their doctor had called in sick. i really wanted to know how busy we were, and whether or why it was not possible to accommodate veterans who are ill and coming for their appointment. that was the starting point for digging deeper. was i found, to my shock, that the official protect -- productivity data put out by the v.a., showed a psychiatrist here in the mental health clinic here is extremely productive. however, when i look at the number of patients seen, the appointment times of those patients, i could not account for more than 50% of the time for the entire clinic. in essence, it was as if the clinic had decided that we're only going to work for half a day and we will call it a full
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day. and that has been going on. this was causing a long delay for veterans to get help, for follow-up care or first appointment. this is in the context of missouri being one of the states with the highest number of veterans. we have 25% to 26% of all suicides in the state by veterans. i took this very seriously because it needed to be completely fixed. the underlying aspect of the official data not reflecting reality was a big problem. i was very vocal and very forceful in demanding that we follow real metrics, real data that is meaningful to the veteran. and also have veteran input. the bizarre thing about the v.a. thehat everybody chants
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course "everything is awesome." that is the tagline. director sent, out an e-mail to all the staff which was later recalled saying that we are doing great. i do not know of any system or you can sell proclaim that you're doing great when -- were you can self the claim that you're doing great when we do not have meaningful input from the veterans. >> dr. mathews, what was the response once you compile this data and he raced at your superiors, what was the response? supportally, there was for making the changes. --ad also instituted however, the pushback from all the staff, all the specialties -- again, i don't want to say everyone was in this category. but easily, 50% of the staff were in this category of people completely resisting and coming
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up with any and all sorts of irrational objections to providing reasonable care. it reached a point where it was almost -- i really felt i might be in an alternate universe. >> dr. mathews, could you specifically refer to the in calling onote them to investigate two allegedly preventable deaths of veterans? >> yes. veteran in aoung high-risk category for suicide who had come in after a lot of encouragement from the veterans family members to seek help. unfortunately,n, after my throat review, was not
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provided -- my thorough review, was not provided care at our died.ty and wa i had questions about the processes we had in place. i wanted to have a root cause analysis so what we find can be fixed. this was one instance. the other was an elderly veteran who had both medical and psychiatric issues and was not appropriately evaluated at the emergency room and was sent to psychiatry. unfortunately, this veteran died of medical complications that very night. these two instances happened within a week. in both cases, i really wanted to have a root cause analysis and volunteered either lead or be part of it. you know, people usually don't
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want to commit to this, but i really felt very strongly that we needed to look at our processes and improve it so that we don't have something like this happening again. unfortunately, in the first instance, was a technical out. i don't know if this is true or not, that there was another facility doing a root cause analysis or we did not have to do it. although, i did raise the point that what i found in our facility needed to be fixed. >> dr. mathews, i want to bring in your attorney ariel solomon. you are working in the basement. you're no longer the head of psychiatry at the v.a. and st. louis. the significance of this lawsuit? into. mathews was forced lawsuit for whistleblowing. he was constructively fired. he was working as the chief of psychiatry. he has an academic position.
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he is the compost psychiatrist. after making the disclosures come he was literally retarded doing little access to the kinds of information that would facilitate additional accept whistleblowing. >> back to aaron glantz, the significance of dr. jose mathews coming forward? >> i think it just goes to show the issue of accountability was front and center in the phoenix case is national in scope. and no matter where you work at the v.a., it can be difficult to come forward and disclose the issues that are most important to veterans. >> thank you all for being with us, aaron glantz for congratulations on your peabody for reporting on veterans. dr. jose mathews, formerly chief of psychiatry ca in st. louis. and ariel solomon, the attorney for dr. mathews.
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that does it for our show. i will be speaking in vermont tomorrow night will sto. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democrac
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